In the Little Havana neighborhood around Marlins Park, handymen are fixing lighting fixtures and shopkeepers are cleaning corners — all in hopes of attracting some of the 110,000 people expected to attend the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
David Lopez, an employee at New York Pizza across the street from Marlins Park, says that the business will be open longer hours with more employees at hand. He helps run the small pizza joint at the front of the house and in the kitchen.
Lopez said he believes that besides car traffic, every Marlins game has brought positive outcomes to the community and businesses, and hopes more big events would be held in his community.
“Since the stadium opened, there’s been more police to look after the area and … more security,” Lopez said.
During every Marlins game, police officers direct traffic and surround the stadium, but for an event as big as the All-Star game, the city of Miami has suspended all vacation days for its officers.
Some local business owners think that changing anything in their business or in their community will be a waste of time, even for a popular national event. They do not expect tourists to be interested in venturing into their shops or requesting their services since they cater to local residents.
Jose Espinal, a taxi driver and resident of Little Havana, does not think he will see any increase in customers this weekend. He says that tourists choose Uber over taxis, so he won’t bother trying to pick up people from the stadium.
“The World Baseball Classic held here a few months ago made no real difference for taxis either,” says Espinal.
For a schedule of local 2017 MLB All-Star events, click here.